Posts Tagged ‘new cancer research’

Bringing the Invisible Into Georgia Classrooms

Microscope view of cellsOn many university campuses there is a dark room that has no windows and the walls are painted black. People wearing white lab coats enter and rest their eyes on top of what I think to be one the most magnificent instruments in a science laboratory, the microscope. These microscopes, which are no bigger than a desk but can cost more than a house, rest gently on a cushion of air and serve the purpose of making the invisible world, visible.

I was hooked the first time I peered into one of these microscopes. All of a sudden this entirely new and previously invisible world moved into focus right in front of me. Tiny creatures that I had apparently been living with, were visible for the first time. I eventually turned my obsession with the microscopic world into a career. I am a scientist at a major medical school and my laboratory’s research is to study how cancer cells work, with the goal of creating new cancer treatments. My team and I have killed cancer cells with new medicines, burst them open, blasted them with radiation, and blocked them from spreading. We do this with the hope that our research will lead to new cancer treatments, make older treatments better, or help diagnose cancer.

Now I have been trying to bring this fascination for microscopes and cells into the classrooms of children around the state of Georgia with my program Students for Science. Through this program I have traveled to over 200 K-12 classrooms and seen over 2000 children in about 35 schools. I usually travel with three microscopes, computers, and cameras, and I bring with me other Winship Cancer Institute scientists, scientists in training from our graduate school, and Emory University undergraduates. Our goal is to inspire critical thinking in K-12 schools by providing them with hands-on, thought-provoking science activities that use the microscope. We have worked with the school students to see their own cheek cells, pond water, microorganisms in dirt, moss, bugs, and plants. I also show them real science movies taken on the microscopes at Emory to promote critical thinking and age-appropriate discussion about science and cancer.

I think that all of us participating in the program believe in its potential long-term benefit of growing the next generation of Georgia scientists. One of our major goals is to have the school students see real scientists to make the possibility of becoming a scientist more tangible. In addition, for me personally it is the excitement and thrill that the children show the first time they peer down the microscope and observe cells zipping across the microscope slide. Some children show fascination, others bewilderment, and some just scream out loud. These reactions are priceless and motivate me to continue to grow the program, see more classrooms, and help educate our youngest scientists.

About Dr. Marcus
Dr. Adam MarcusAdam Marcus received his PhD in cell biology from Penn State University in 2002 and went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer pharmacology at Emory University. Dr. Marcus is an Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine and has developed his own laboratory which focuses on cell biology and pharmacology in lung and breast cancer. Dr. Marcus’ laboratory studies how cancer cells invade and metastasize using a combination of molecular and imaging-based approaches. For more information about Dr. Marcus and his outreach and research efforts, please use the related resources links below. You can also follow Dr. Marcus on Twitter at @NotMadScientist.

 

 

Related Resources:

Winship: Year in Review

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityAs we near the end of 2013, it’s common to reflect on events from the past year, both the challenging and the inspiring. For the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, it was an exciting year as strides were made in many areas, including enrolling over 800 patients in clinical trials, breaking ground on the Emory Proton Therapy Center, performing our 4,000th bone marrow and stem cell transplant and continuing to pioneer exciting research discoveries, such as the development of drug therapies aimed to cure brain cancer.

Winship opened its doors in 1937 and was the first center to provide advanced care for cancer patients in the Southeast. Today, as Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute – designated cancer center, Winship is among the nation’s leading institutions as it continues to pursue a future where cancer ceases to exist.

Through the generosity of donations of any size, as well as fundraising events like the Winship Win the Fight 5K, the physicians, staff and researchers at Winship are working harder than ever to achieve that goal for the residents of Georgia and beyond. The video below recaps some of the 2013 achievements as we prepare to welcome 2014 with eagerness and hopefulness!